Negotiations on a new labor contract that has been on the table for the last several months between Modesto (Calif.) County and its 911 dispatcher’s union have been put on hold until January per an agreement between the two sides. The postponement was proposed and accepted by both the county and the union because both sides want to wait for the results of a study conducted by an independent consulting group into employee compensation and operational issues at the Stanislaus Regional 911 Center. During the interim, the sides have also agreed to extend the current contract to June 30 which will effectively restore 8o percent of a recent pay cut issued for dispatchers due to the economic recession.
Pay rates for 911 dispatchers in Modesto County were brought under scrutiny earlier this year when an independent consultant hired by the Modesto Police Department found that they are paid a higher rate than dispatchers in certain other counties, largely because of specific incentives laced throughout their contract. The consultant found that the budget for Modesto County’s 911 dispatcher payroll was approximately $2 million more than that of other counties in the area. The study is expected to be completed by the first week in January.
It is unlikely that there will be any decreases in pay rates for Modesto County dispatchers regardless of what the study finds. The most likely outcome would be that the budgets in other counties would be adjusted and the dispatchers in those counties would receive an appropriate rate increase.
Investigations by local media in Modesto last year found that the average pay for dispatchers in Stanislaus (Modesto), Stockton, and San Joaquin counties in northern California were $75,876, $71,126, and $68,391, respectively. The contract negotiations are aimed at trying to even up those averages.